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Cuban tobacco farmers relate well with NC agriculture officials

Cuban tobacco farmers relate well with NC agriculture officials
Updated 8:27 p.m. yesterday

VINALES, CUBA — When conversations happen in different languages, things
can often get lost in translation.
But in a chat between farmers from Cuba and North Carolina, tobacco is a
word that crosses linguistic boundaries.
And while the word may be the same, there are major differences between
how tobacco is produced in North Carolina and Cuba. North Carolina’s
agriculture delegation, which has been exploring new trade opportunities
in Cuba this week, noticed the differences right away.
In Cuba, many of the tobacco farmers sell most of their crop to the
government. Ivan Hernandez, a farmer in Vinales, sells about 90 percent
of his crop to Cuba. He can keep or sell the rest of it.
Beth Farrell, with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, said
the differences extend well beyond how Cuban farmers sell their products.
“Their crop management production systems are so different than our
large-scale production in North Carolina,” she said. “Hand labor versus
equipment, we’ve seen very few tractors that weren’t moving people.”
Gaining a better understanding of the crops and operations of
agriculture in Cuba is a big part of the process as North Carolina
officials explore possible trade options.
“No matter where you are in the world, farmers are trying to do the same
thing,” Farrell said. “They’re trying to feed their communities.”
Twenty-eight agricultural leaders from North Carolina spent three days
in Cuba, and they’ve already invited their Cuban counterparts to visit
the Tar Heel State.

Source: Cuban tobacco farmers relate well with NC agriculture officials
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